Archaeology and Heritage
Archaeology needs to be considered under the Planning Act and explored before heavy equipment gets on the site. Berm construction could remove important artifacts and move them from each other. Any assessment for habitation needs to consider both settler and First Nations’ land uses. Often settler records will have been preserved in maps of land grants, written records or stories, whereas First Nations’ stories will reveal collective memory and on occasion be accompanied by wampum belts. Often one set of records will collaborate or contradict the other.
In the Standards and Guidelines for Consulting Archeologists, the Ontario government notes that “normally, a non-specialist (someone who is not a consultant archaeologist) such as the approval authority or Ministry of Tourism and Culture staff determines archaeological potential”. Any member of a community group who is aware of what to look for, can, with the landowner’s permission, walk the area looking for signs of regular visits or habitation. Should there be a likelihood for the site, groups and individual need to be aware of the rights of the current and former inhabitants as well as of the responsibility for the past.
The Cemeteries Act, and the Funeral, Burial and Cremation require anyone who uncovers human remains to cease all work at the site, then to report to the local police or coroner. The Ontario Heritage Act helps to identify material and traditional heritage and to record and store them and to make them available to researchers. These may be objects or immaterial or both.
For a list of archeologists licensed in Ontario see http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/archaeology/licensed_archaeologists_list.shtml
For Standards and Guidelines see http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/publications/SG_2010.pdf
For an example of a heritage landscape which prevented inappropriate aggregate development, see www.bridgekeepers.ca . For an example of a heritage which did not allow for environmental destruction, see www.ontarionature.org/blog/?s=upper+thames+river and https://www.ontario.ca/page/provincial-policy-statement-2020